November Message from Rev. Coplin
Peace to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is with sadness that I have been following the latest news this week in our Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Last Sunday marked the deadline for churches seeking to depart the UMC by year’s end to conduct their congregational vote for disaffiliation. There are many interested folks that are following the results more closely than I, but I do know that several congregations with whom my family have a personal connection will from now on continue to love and serve the Lord apart from the UMC. I am in grief for their loss. I also grieve for what our denomination once was, because we are no longer who we were in their absence. Those who will be part of forming a new denomination have a difficult task ahead, to be sure. And we who remain United Methodist have a difficult task in righting the ship and continuing in our mission. Our UMC Book of Discipline states, “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches and extension ministries of the Church provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs” (2016, paragraph 120).
Staying true to our mission has already proven difficult in this day and time. You do not deserve this denominational mess that has been dropped into your life, yet together we have to figure out how we will respond in a manner that best honors truth, proclaims grace, and serves our church and community. That’s the difficult bit. The good news is that Christ is still the Lord of this church, which has weathered many storms and will weather many more until his return.
Though we have to work through this pressing issue and continue to have a big decision to make, we also continue to be entrusted with his mission. It is not among the levels of administration and bishops and conferences that the wayward and hopeless find hope. We remember that this. is the place where disciples are formed. We remember that we serve a Lord who works all circumstances for good. We remember that our mission continues.
Our listening sessions continue this week. If there appears to be enough interest, our team will look at opening up further sessions as needed. I wrestle with this issue daily and welcome the opportunity to speak with you if you have any concern or uncertainty. God bless you and keep you into this new month.
Grace and Peace,